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Canadians have recently learned about an easy way to retrieve money that they didn’t realize they had. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has been sitting on over $1 billion in cheques that have been left uncashed by Canadian taxpayers over the past 20 years, according to the National Post.
According to the CRA, there are about five million Canadians who never cashed their CRA cheques from 1998 to 2018. If you are one of these people then you have money waiting in your CRA account. There are reportedly 7.6 million uncashed cheques.
A new “Uncashed cheques” feature was added to the tax agency’s website last week with the goal to allow people easy access to their missing money.
“There are many reasons Canadians may have an uncashed cheque from the Canada Revenue Agency. For example, someone may have moved and not updated their address, believed the payment was issued to them in error, or the cheque may have been lost, stolen, or destroyed,” the agency explained on its website.
Spokesperson for the minister of National Revenue, Jeremy Bellefeuille, noted that the feature was always available though it was very unknown and more complicated.
To access this feature yourself you can log into your account on the CRA website and click “Uncashed cheques” located at the bottom of “related services” on the agency’s overview page.
Unpaid amounts more than six months old will be included on the page.
“This is money that belongs to Canadians. Each year, the Canada Revenue Agency issues millions of payments in the form of refunds and benefits,” Bellefeuille told the National Post. “In order to help taxpayers reclaim these long lost funds, the CRA soft launched this online feature.”
Bellefeuille revealed that signing up for direct deposit would help to avoid the inconvenience. “If they’re not registered for direct deposit, a new cheque will be mailed to the address on file.”
“As Government cheques never expire or stale-date, the CRA cannot void the original cheque and reissue a new one unless requested by the taxpayer. Taxpayers are encouraged to cash any cheques they have in their possession,” said Bellefeuille.
The unclaimed money is used by the government’s general coffers until it is cashed.
A Twitter user first created a buzz around the subject when he tweeted, “FYI My Account on the CRA website has a section of ‘uncashed cheques’. Highly suggest checking to see if you’ve got any. I had 105 dollars from 2017.”
Many users reported finding cheques in their account that were anywhere from a couple dollars to more than $10,000.